A Smaller Life – Signs of a Slow Home Movement?

We’ve all heard of the Slow Food Movement, but I am watching a trend that seems to be taking shape on the internet that completely fascinates me. It truly seems that everyday I see more people clamoring for a slow home movement. What does slow home mean? It can be any of a number of things – and all encompassing in regards to the home – but the general consensus seems to be that more isn’t necessarily better these days.
I absolutely see this thought taking hold in interior design. Just last week both Irene Turner and Wanda Horton wrote posts about slowing down. Emily Anderson recently launched her new book Eco Chic Home. Leslie Carothers is working closely with Cargill’s BiOH polyols division to get furniture manufacturers to use soy based foam instead of oil based foam in their upholstered pieces.
The idea to reduce, re-use, re-purpose and recycle isn’t anything new, I just feel like we’re on the verge of seeing people start to make more holistic choices for their environments. Or so I hope! In order to get product pricing in line, it’s going to take consumers asking for and insisting upon eco-friendly products on a consistent basis for the manufacturers to make the switch. The same way that consumers asked for organic, hormone-free milk at Wallmart, we need to ask for low VOC, healthier home goods.
In the last 24 hours I have been stumbling onto endless articles that all seem to embody a slow-home mentality. Think of what the typical behavior of a US consumer has been in the last few years. It’s like a rubber band – expand, expand, expand, everything becoming tighter – on the verge of breaking and then it retracts back to normal. It’s a more simple, easy-going version of the overly stressed, tight rubber band.
We (as a nation) have been stuck a greedy consumption loop. Buy more stuff, get a bigger house, obtain more to take care of, there is more stuff that breaks, which leads you to buying more/better/newer/faster/prettier. I am glad to see that people are finally starting to ask themselves: do we really need that many flat panel TVs? A house with multiple dining spaces? More than one family room or a McMansion? Perhaps the state of the economy has force-fed us a little lesson most were not prepared for – but it’s lesson nonetheless.
Here is what I have been reading: But will it make you happy?Home for Life – And then, I came upon The Dog Walk Blog who is part of a larger group of bloggers who have all decided to write about A Smaller Life. They’ve linked to several blogs that have all chosen to speak about what A Smaller Life means to them. Please pop by and get lost in those links. It will show you that a lot of people have this slow home topic at the forefront of their minds.When we were looking for a house to buy we had two houses on the list of finalists. They were about the same price. One was a similar size to our old NYC apartment. It was charming and needed a few capital improvements to make it exactly what we wanted. The other was nearly twice the size (with twice the taxes) but didn’t need work. However, (if we opted for it) we’d get trapped into the consumption role we see both sets of our parents in. We’d find ourselves 65 years old, with a house that is too big for two people, with too many sofas, more TVs than we can watch, more stuff to collect dust, more upkeep, higher heating bills, higher electric costs, more landscaping to do…
We determined that we’d prefer to get out and enjoy our lives rather than having our ‘stuff’ dictate how we spend our time. From taxes to maintenance and even availability of storage, we opted for the smaller, lower cost, eco-friendly house that (in the long run) will cost us less in every sense of the word. All the choices I have made for our new ‘slow home’ have been with the idea of low maintenance. I don’t want to be a slave to our belongings, or to our home for that matter.
The paintings in this post are by a Cleveland, Ohio based artist named Amy Casey. Whose work looks quite incredible ~ if I do say so myself! Perhaps I’ll find a wall in need of adornment once we get settled in the new house? One would make for a nice daily reminder to continue on the slow home path we have started down during the purchase and renovation.